A McMechen man has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for failing to report cash payments to his employees and fraudulently collecting insurance benefits for staged damage to his vehicle.
Stephen J. Gretchen, 45, knowingly under reported the wages, tips and other compensation he paid to his employees. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, he paid certain employees in cash “off the books.”
He filed quarterly tax returns which failed to report the cash payments and failed to withhold certain tax amounts on behalf of his employees.
Gretchen also owned a 2011 Coachman Freedom Express camping trailer. An investigation showed he paid an employee to deliberately crash a dump truck into the trailer, destroying it. He falsely reported the damage was caused by a hit-and-run accident.
Gretchen then collected a check for more than $27,000 from the insurance company.
In January, he pled guilty to one count of “Filing a False Form 941, Employees’ Quarterly Federal Tax Return,” and one count of “Mail Fraud.”
The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, Fraud Investigation Unit investigated.